The California university is being accused of censorship after paying a firm to try to hide references to the incident in which police sprayed protesters in 2011
The incidence became a massive Internet meme at the time:
Details of the attempt to remove references of the pepper-spraying incident were revealed by the Sacramento Bee, which reported that UC Davis hired a communications firm on a $15,000-a-month contract with a goal of eradicating “references to the pepper spray incident on Google”, including “negative search results” for Katehi.
The information was obtained through a Public Records Act request and is part of a broader investigation by the paper into Katehi’s affiliation with private corporate boards.
“It’s not surprising,” said Ian Lee, who was an 18-year-old freshman when he was pepper-sprayed during the peaceful protest. “It’s consistent with what [Katehi] has done and she should resign.”
“It bothers me because it’s personal,” he added. “Its a personal thing that changed my life. They’re trying to erase the history of resistance at UC Davis”.
Tom Zolot, who was a senior when he took part in the protest and was also hit with pepper spray, said it was “insulting” to attempt to bury mention of the protest and its handling.